The rounds in the Lackford Engineering Midget and Sprite Challenge are coming around fast at the moment with Sunday 19th June providing a ‘double header’ at the HSCC organised Wolds Trophy meeting at the picturesque Cadwell Park in Lincolnshire. This circuit provides a mix of fast sweeps and twisty slow corners through a lovely wooded section, getting it all together is tricky for the drivers.
Nineteen entries were to do battle, it would have been twenty but the out of luck Robin Lackford hit more problems testing on the Friday when some poorly manufactured engine parts let him down and scuppered his weekend. He stayed on though to support the drivers, who include son Nigel, in the series he so generously sponsors.
The entry this time included David Weston, James Dunkley, Martin Morris and Graeme Adams in Class A who had all sorted their issues from Silverstone. Class B had Andy Southcott, Steve Collier, Richard Wildman, Carl Chadwick and Peter Kenner ley. Class D entries included Nigel Lackford, John Bridge, John Tewson and Tom Walker. The Healey Class E group were Richard Perry, Kim Dear, Ian Burgin, the on form Pippa Cow and David Morrison who had undertaken a mammoth rebuild of his car after Silverstone with a new Axle, new wheels and tyres, springs and all the associated bits and pieces. Series coordinator Tim Storrar was out once again in a borrowed car, this time generously loaned by Richard Homer, he was in the invitation class.
I arrived on Saturday morning to find qualifying over and Richard Perry hard at work. The securing strap had broken on his fuel tank which had been dragged some considerable distance around the track. Fortunately the aluminium tank was quite thick and there was no spillage of fuel. Dodgy moment though! Adams was bleeding his brake system, Bridge was changing a coil and others were sorting minor issues.
Qualifying had left Weston on pole ahead of Dunkley by almost two seconds from Morris another second behind, with Adams just behind him in fourth. Southcott was fastest of the B class cars from Chadwick and then came Morrison in his Class E car ahead of Wildman. Cow was ahead of Perry with Kennerley and Collier separated by three hundredths of a second. Dear was ahead of the fastest D class Lackford jnr, Burgin, Walker, Storrar, Bridge and Tewson completed the order.
Our race was first after lunch because we had another later in the day, much later, in fact, the last race.
The grid formed and we were ready for the lights to start the race, as the field sped off unfortunately Walker crawled off the line with a broken drive train.
At the front Weston took the lead from Dunkley and Adams. Morris was to pull up and retire with a carburettor problem and another casualty of drive train failure was Kennerley, so we had three out and not even the first lap completed.
As the cars came up over the mountain the first three were the same, Southcott was next from Chadwick, Morrison, Perry and Wildman. Cow, Collier, Dear, Lackford, Burgin, Bridge, Storrar and Tewson completed the field.
Next lap and Adams was up to second ahead of Dunkley, he would pass Weston for the lead before dropping out with a broken rear axle mount. Perry was ahead of Morrison and these two would have a monumental battle until they both went out after ten laps in unconnected incidents, Perry with self confessed concentration loss resulting in a spin at the Mountain and Morrison with a broken rotor arm. Chadwick had a quick spin dropping him back. He would pull back up to eighth at the end.
Wildman benefited from all this and went into fourth ahead of Cow. Further back Lackford and Burgin were fighting tooth and nail and would finish in that order. There was an incident mid race when Bridge found the leaders come up on him at the Hairpin in the woods. He gave them room but still found himself being forced to take to the grass, a nasty slide almost saw him in the barriers, its very narrow down there.
Meanwhile out front Weston was resisting challenges from Dunkley but suddenly there was a huge gap between them. Dunkley had had a spin at the back of the circuit, lightly hitting the barriers deranging the front end, he was able to continue and would eventually take the flag 25 seconds in arrears, that came after 12 laps. Southcott finished a strong if lonely third.
Wildman finished fourth on the road but there was controversy after the race when the car was weighed and found to be a few kilos underweight. There was no chance of appeal and the car was disqualified but would be allowed into the next race if the issue was rectified.
Finishing in fifth was Cow ahead of Dear and Collier. Although a lap down Chadwick recovered to eighth with Lackford and Burgin, tied together, next up. Bridge came home next and Storrar enjoyed his drive in Homers car to finish ahead of Tewson who completed the order.
A close race up front in the early stages and a few battles down the field kept the interest of the spectators but there were a few issues to be dealt with if we were to have a full grid for the second race.